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The Internet Advertising Businesses Communications Verizon

NY To Probe Broadband Providers Over Internet Speeds (reuters.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes with a report from The Stack that New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has begun a probe into the state's three dominant ISPs to assess whether they are actually delivering the service they advertise at the levels promised. From the article: According to leaked documents, sent to Verizon Communications, Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable, the New York attorney general asked each firm to hand over copies of the advertising and copy they have provided to consumers regarding internet speeds, along with any testing documents which studied the speed of their service. ... The probe plans to focus on the exchange of data through contractual partnerships between the ISPs and other networks. The AG office suspects that customers who are paying a premium fee for higher internet speeds could be experiencing a disruption to their service due to technical issues brought about by business disputes in these interconnection deals.
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NY To Probe Broadband Providers Over Internet Speeds

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  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @09:16AM (#50802187)

    * please note that the actual award may be less, depending on congestion and other factors

    • Like where you pay a premium for a higher speed tier and the net result is your local modem's speed is upgraded, but it's basically worthless because of congestion from your node all the way up to the interchange is congested and oversubscribed?

      I see this all the time -- customer buys into some ridiculous Comcast business class speed tier of 100/50 or whatever and never sees the throughput. Sure, all the internet speed tests (which I am sure are gamed) show the speed but real-world tests from a local data

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        I've had the same laptop for about 6 years. Back in 2009, with a fibre-optic cable TV network in the UK and a 70 Mbit data service (in a student area), I was lucky to get a 300K download speed. I've currently got a 20 Mbit phone line DSL service in a small town and get 1 Mbyte download speed. The price difference was around 5:1

        • You appear to be judiciously confusing bytes and bits.

          I have 75 Mbit symetric service from Verizon FiOS. My computer pushes 10MByte/sec without issue to select destinations. Usually, this has more to do with the peering connections, or where the other endpoint is and what kind of connection they have than an issue with my connection.

          My connection is pretty much faster than many corporate connections, so I actually can download faster than most places can upload to me.

          • by mikael ( 484 )

            Our university had a tier-1 terabit connection, but there were so many people downloading data, that they ended up with about 25K each.... It was frustrating that you could remotely log into your home PC, download the file in seconds, while have to wait hours at your own work desk.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Test on a pure optical account at random times if it exists. That would show if the path to the internet is slow as a total connection for all users.
        If a pure optical path works every time its not a larger issue.
        Coaxial, copper has to connect back to something local and that can often have too many people and have to make some very simple sharing calculations so everyone on different networks can get the internet.
        The solution is pure optical to every account or really add short distances of old networ
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          My basic claim is that what Comcast is selling is nothing more than a DOCSIS speed setting on the modem, and not access to actual network throughput.

          In any urban cable network there's some shared segment encompassing some range of dwellings that usually connects to a node where it gains access to some branch segment and that handles uplink for a larger geographic area and then to whatever the metro area data center is. I count 3 hops on my connection before it leaves my metro region.

          My sense is that these

  • by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @09:16AM (#50802191)

    It sounds like the New York Attorney General's Netflix keeps getting the loading notification and his HD videos don't play back. This, plus Verizon has reneged on its FiOS rollout to all neighborhoods as contractually required. They only installed in the neighborhoods they wanted and told the state to fuck off on the rest.

    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )
      I've been told that my town will never get FiOS because the locals told Verizon that they couldn't remove the copper when installing fiber. Fortunately, the NY AG office has a reputation for going after business with anti-consumer practices. Unfortunately, it looks like they're only trying to make sure customers are getting advertised speeds, which isn't a problem in my area.
  • It's not that I mind your dishonesty so much, it's that you think I'm stupid -Charlie Brown , It's the Great Pumpkin. .. After careful reconsideration, I do mind the dishonesty
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have no clue, and without competition or regs, I'll likely never know.

    Possibilities:

    A: That the access speed was the advertised rate when nobody else was using it and the phase of the planets was just right. (Sure)

    B: The ability to talk to anybody, anywhere on the Internet at their access speed. (No way is this even possible.)

    C: That any content delivered to their ISP would be accepted gratis and delivered to their customer subject to the access speed limitation. (Should be this way.)

    D: That the ISP would

  • I couldn't find the word "promise" anywhere.

    Here's reality: residential consumers are not paying for guaranteed bandwidth. Want guaranteed speeds? Get a dedicated circuit.

    • by waTeim ( 2818975 )
      And pay an order of magnitude more? No thanks, I'll take my chances with unreliability which actually turns out to be pretty reliable around here ... Oh yea, Google Fiber is being deployed. Good luck in Kentucky or Wyoming whatever 3rd world country you live in.
      • by praxis ( 19962 )

        Which is why he said "Want guaranteed speeds?" You don't, so of course you won't take the deal. I have a dedicated circuit because I want guaranteed speed. I also pay less than my local cable company charges (though I get slower than they "say I'll get"). It's certainly not orders of magnitude more than them, though.

      • For Verizon FiOS, the difference between Commercial and Residential rates is $30. Not an order of magnitude on a $90 connection charge (residential).

        It isn't a T(1, 3 ...) connection, but it is guaranteed.

        • by waTeim ( 2818975 )
          Heh, well that is reasonable. But in this area: $90/month for 300/20 (residential) $1700/month for 30/30 (commercial)
      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        I pay less for guaranteed speeds. 20/20 for $20/m, 70/70 for $34, and 100/100 for $45. All guaranteed rates 1 hop Level 3(tier 1 ISP). Fast high quality internet is cheaper than the crap you pay for.
    • by Thruen ( 753567 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @10:56AM (#50802851)
      Did you even read the summary? Overall speed is not the focus. From TFS and TFA:

      The AG office suspects that customers who are paying a premium fee for higher internet speeds could be experiencing a disruption to their service due to technical issues brought about by business disputes in these interconnection deals.

      It doesn't sound like he's talking about his average speeds. It sounds like he's talking about the targeted throttling of services. For example, I am a Comcast subscriber with an HBO subscription that I pay for through Comcast. As a part of my HBO subscription, I gain access to HBO Go. I have a PS4 HBO Go application. Every time I have tried it, it has failed to work, at all. This is a known issue, and in response to customer complaints Comcast has openly stated that it is a business decision, not a technical one. So, I pay Comcast for something, and they don't allow me to use it.

      Sadly, I don't live in New York and Comcast doesn't appear to be a target of these letters. I can't actually speak to the practices of other ISPs as I'm not their customer, but both the article and summary make it pretty clear this isn't a matter of "guaranteed bandwidth." I haven't seen the words written in the article, but this is a net neutrality issue.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "So, I pay Comcast for something, and they don't allow me to use it."

        And you're not pressing your local DA/AG to get something done?

        No wonder you're getting raped.

        • by Thruen ( 753567 )
          I filed a complaint and was told there's nothing more to do now but wait. The system totally works. But, to be honest, I have a computer connected to the television that suits the purpose just fine, so it's not a huge hassle just a bit insulting.
  • FCC Prevue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @10:36AM (#50802711) Journal

    The FCC already requires broadband providers to do this. Most providers have or are implementing a product set called SamKnows [samknows.com] to comply. You can read the FCC's 2014 report here or have a look at the FCC's Measuring Broadband America [fcc.gov] for more info about the program. No, I don't work for the FCC.

    Sounds like the NY Attorney General's office is just making more work for ISPs when they could just ask the FCC for the info. Probably just bullying.

    • With all of the news lately about car manufacturers cheating on emissions testing, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if ISPs were doing something similar here.

      What's to stop them from coding in some type of recognition for requests made to FCC servers as part of this SamKnows testing to avoid throttling or giving them priority?

      /Note: I'm not in IT, IS, CS, etc. So, my knowledge of this is pretty limited.
    • Did you ever hear of the game telephone? I'll assume not. The underlying idea is that the more people involved in a transfer of information means a higher likelihood of the information changing. Think about that.
    • Perhaps this has more to do with Comcast and Verizon's games in relation to Netflix recently?

      Comcast has intentionally maxed out peering connections, it could also have to do with this.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Chapter 3, section 2(A), paragraph 6, subparagraph 2, clearly states that the consumer is to be provided with "up to" the indicated bandwidth. I submit, your honor, that no evidence will be shown to prove we have delivered bandwidth in excess of our claims.

  • Every single time I've called an ISP, their representatives claimed the speeds were in megabytes rather than megabits. Which means they're advertising speeds 8 times faster than what they really provide. I've noticed this with Verizon and Comcast, and attempts to explain the mistake to their reps never go anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if these companies turn a blind eye to this particular error, since many consumers wouldn't notice it and they could always claim it was an honest mistake.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    From what I hear from someone who lives in New York City, Time Warner Cable's copper system was tarnishing/degrading so performance began to suck. People were jumping ship to FiOS for that reason alone.

    He did say that TWC was finally starting to replace it.

  • Like Volkswagen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @01:56PM (#50804293) Homepage

    The Volkswagen debacle reminds me of a question that's been bothering me for a while now.

    I wonder if, when you go to one of those bandwidth test sites and perform a speed test, your ISP notices what you are doing and prioritizes your traffic, to make you think you have more bandwidth than you actually do.

    If this is true, do you think people will get as upset with their ISPs as they are getting with Volkswagen, for engineering methods to lie on tests?

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